April Update 2022 – Happy Easter!
Dear Friends and Family, Happy Resurrection Sunday!
1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
It has been such a blessing to our family to remember the Why behind our Hope and our Mission. The past few months have been filled with answered prayer and God’s faithfulness. Our prayer is that these testimonies of God’s goodness will inspire you to share your story and testimony with others. Each follower of Jesus is called to Go and Tell others what we have experienced and seen in our own lives.
At In The Gap
Winter Session 2022 was the first session that we had Interns back on campus since COVID. We had 8 Interns join the team from January through March! God opened the doors for us to go into four schools and teach Character Class during school hours. We also ran two Bible Clubs after school. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so maybe a video is worth a million?😊 Please enjoy this recap video of the things that God did last session!
Spring Session 2022 began 3 weeks ago. The team finished their first week of teaching on Friday. We are so grateful for the 5 interns that are here teaching and learning this Spring! We have added a new Bible Club and we are so excited to bring the light of Jesus into these children’s lives.
Please join us in prayer…
- For open paths for the gospel to be understood and believed during Bible Clubs.
- For protection over the children that have placed their faith in Christ.
- For the hearts of the children, teachers, and families to be receptive to the message of the gospel.
- That God would be glorified through the attitudes and actions that the team displays and that it would be a witness to those they come in contact with.
Below are some of our favorite pictures from the past few months.
Bill is preparing for a mission trip from MN that is coming down to help with campus upgrade projects. He has enjoyed BSF and his position as Substitute Teaching Leader immensely. He also is leading a Bible Club small group of little boys weekly.
Patty enjoys meeting people in the community and is teaching ESL classes to a group of women at In The Gap. She also enjoys getting to know women from different countries that are part of her online BSF group.
Daniel was able to find a job in the field of Data Analytics. He is enjoying his new job and learning a lot. He is involved in the children’s ministry at our church running technical support.
William is currently interning at In The Gap. He has enjoyed taking part in Leadership Missions Training. As a team they have gone through two weeks of training and are going into schools daily to teach Character Class and Bible Club.
Hope is finishing up her Junior year of High School. She is very involved with the Youth Group and Children’s Ministry in our church. Currently, she is preparing for an upcoming mission trip to Honduras in May with the Youth Group. She has taken on some of the Bible Club admin work and teaches twice a week with the team at Bible Club.
Ruthie is finishing her Freshman year of High School. She is enjoying Violin and History. She is teaching a small group of 2nd and 3rd grade boys with William at Bible Club weekly and has enjoyed the opportunity immensely.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
-The Saunders Family
November Update 2021
Happy fall y’all!
As of July 2021 we have officially been in OKC for one year! This past year and a half was full of new adventures and opportunities. Through each circumstance we have encountered, our family has seen God’s goodness and provision.
One specific way God has shown us His faithfulness has been through his perfect timing. Looking back, we see His protection over our lives and His goodness through circumstances that were difficult at the moment. As the school year continues, we thank God for you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and for your prayers and support. Our prayer is that you will see the goodness of God through His faithfulness as you read this update.
In The Gap
We had our annual staff retreat in August. The Lord gave us a beautiful time of rest and spiritual equipping before starting the school year. As a staff, we had the opportunity to take an excellent course by Bruce Wilkinson in addition to attending the Global Leadership Summit.
Shortly after our staff retreat, as we were preparing for our fall session, we had another challenge brought on by the Coronavirus. Due to the difficulties with the delta variant, the Oklahoma City Public School System announced that they would not be allowing outside volunteers or community partners into any of their schools. Because of these new developments, In The Gap made the difficult decision to wait until the winter session to continue Leadership Missions Training. While this was a surprise for us, we are so thankful we serve a God who is never taken by surprise. However, God opened a door with a different school district that enabled our staff to teach Character Class, Bible Club, and Assemblies once a week! Our family has gotten to experience a little of what Leadership Missions Training will be like during a session as all six of us have been teaching at Bible Club. It has been a huge blessing to see the children in person again. The large group lessons we are teaching in Bible Club share the gospel starting in Genesis all the way through Revelation. After large group, we break into small groups. We get to discuss everything from: what humility is and how we show it; to who Jesus is and the gospel.
We ask you to join us in praying for the over 80 kids who have come to Bible Club, along with hundreds more in Character Class and Assemblies. Please pray that they can see the love of God and accept the gospel.
In The Gap Kids has continued to grow and we now have over 1,000 subscribers! As of this update, there are now over 300 videos on YouTube teaching kids all about God’s word through bible lessons, songs, crafts, and more. We had the opportunity to film two bible lessons over the last few months, and one of them is out right now! You can watch it by clicking this link.
- 160,079 views
- 1.53k Subscribers
- 330 Videos
Subscribe to ITG Kids Here
BSF started in September, and we are going through the book of Matthew. Bill was asked last spring to prayerfully consider taking the role of Substitute Teaching Leader. He accepted and has really enjoyed the opportunity to grow closer to God and help others do likewise. Patty has immensely enjoyed leading her online international BSF group. She is very excited to see more women in countries around the world have the opportunity to study God’s word together.
Patty has also been involved in the Latin American community around us. She has loved the opportunity to connect many families she has met to a local Spanish-speaking church near us and visits the church once a month. In addition to this, both Bill and Patty each led a Bible Club small group this fall and loved building into the kids they had in their groups each week.
Daniel is officially a college graduate! We praise the Lord for this and we are very proud of him. He also has continued to tutor kids in Mathematics and Piano.
William qualified for the National Bible Bee this year! This was his last year to participate. He diligently studied the book of Acts and had a wonderful time competing! He has continued to serve at In The Gap by faithfully caring for the grounds at ITG. His many hours of mowing, trimming, and edging have the campus looking tidy.
Hope has started school and is going into her Junior year. She is very involved with our church here in OKC. And is working Tuesday mornings to provide childcare for the women’s bible study that meets at our church. She also joined the Youth Worship Band and has greatly enjoyed serving there. She taught a small group at Bible Club this fall and learned a lot through this experience.
Ruthie also qualified for the National Bible Bee! Along with William, she studied a portion of Acts and committed to memory many passages of scripture. Ruthie has started school with Hope and is going into her first year of High School. She is also taught a small group at Bible Club and enjoyed getting to know the kids and teaching them.
This months question is:
What book or story has had the biggest impact on you (aside from the Bible)?
All of Major Ian Thomas’s books are wonderful but the two that impacted me the most were: If I perish I perish, and the saving life of Christ. If I Perish I Perish really helped me understand what it means to walk by the Spirit. And The Saving Life of Christ helped me understand the necessity of surrender in the Christian life.
One of the books that had and is continuing to have an impact on my life is My Utmost for His Highest. This is a compilation of sermons by Oswald Chambers in the form of daily devotions. I appreciate the truths, encouragement, and admonition in each devotion. This compilation of sermons was the loving work of Mr. Chamber’s wife Gertrude (Biddy) Hobbs, after his passing.
One book that was impactful is: 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey. This book helped me learn more about being proactive and learning to create Win-Win situations that are beneficial for every party involved.
One of the most impactful stories that I have read was about the life of Eric Liddell. It was inspiring to see how he was diligent and gave his all to whatever he was doing. Whether he was competing as an athlete or sharing the love of Christ as a missionary he glorified God through all of it.
A book that has had an impact on my life is Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson. It is a collection of true stories from different missionaries and individuals who exemplified an inspiring faith in God. I remember reading this book at the age of 7 or 8 and thinking I want to live a life that is glorifying to God. As I have reread this book recently, the stories still inspire me! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to introduce missionary stories to kids.
The book I chose is: Charles Mulli: We Are Family. His story really impacted me and showed me how God can use our circumstances to glorify Himself. I also found it really inspiring how he was able to overcome all the difficulties he faced and become successful. And after all that, trusting God enough to leave those things behind to serve Him and reach out to kids.
We thank you so much for your continued prayers and support! We look forward to connecting with you all soon.
The Saunders Family
May/June Update 2021
The months of May and June were full of many fun times and sweet memories. Along with opportunities to serve and interact with our community in OKC. We hope you are encouraged and blessed as we are while looking back on these two months.
At In The Gap
One of the highlights of June was being able to run two week long bible clubs! Our family, along with some of the staff, got to teach over 60 kids. Through large group teaching, discussions in smaller groups, crafts, and much more, these kids were taught the foundational lessons from Genesis 1-11. Below are some of our favorite pictures from that week.
We also got to film another Bible Lesson! We have so much fun filming them and brainstorming ideas on how to best present the truth God has given us through His word.
On that note, here are the latest stats from In The Gap Kids:
- 850 Subscribers
- 88,000 Views
- 269 Videos on YouTube
We also invite you to watch ITG Kids’ latest videos here.
Lastly, Bill, along with our family and the staff, is getting ready for Leadership Academy. Our family has been focusing on prepping the campus for the young men and women God is sending here.
If you or someone you know is interested in Leadership Academy, we invite you to click here to learn more about it.
As for our family, here are some of the most memorable moments from May and June.
First, William graduated! We are so incredibly proud of him and can’t wait to see how God will use him. On top of that, our family was able to go up to Minnesota to celebrate his graduation. We got to see many of you and had an incredibly encouraging and uplifting time there! Thank you for celebrating William with us.
Here are some of the many pictures taken while in Minnesota:
William is now serving in the capacity of groundskeeping here at ITG. He is doing a great job making the campus look neat and well kept.
Additionally, Bible Bee is once again underway! William, Hope, and Ruthie are participating this year as we study the book of Acts. We are also hosting a local Bible Bee here on campus, and we meet once a week with the other families to go over what we’ve learned.
Hope also had the opportunity to volunteer with our church’s VBS this year.
- Please pray for our supporters and their families: that the Lord would encourage and strengthen them in this coming month.
- Please continue to pray for Leadership Academy and the young men and women that God is calling to attend.
- Pray that God would prepare our hearts to learn in humility, as this is the first session that we will be here on staff.
- The Lord provided in ways we could not have even imagined for William’s graduation. We are so grateful to the many friends who offered their homes for us to stay in; we are overwhelmed by your ready willingness to serve our family.
- The homeschool conference we taught at was also an incredible blessing. We saw God working not only in the lives of the kids but also in our hearts.
Fun Facts With Hope
If you could go back in time 10 years (or 5 years for us younger people) and tell yourself something, what would you say?
Ten years ago was a big transition time. I had recently been laid off from a job I had for 18 years, and I was just about to start my own business. I still remember when I got laid off, I sensed that God was letting it happen because He wanted to give me more; I would tell myself that God came through in so many ways and remind myself of this verse:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I would tell myself God came through BIG TIME. Keep trusting Him, following Him, and serving Him because He is faithful.
I am again at a big transition time, however, I am encouraged by God’s faithfulness to our family. I am excited to see what the next ten years will bring.
Ten years ago was 2011, that was the year that I got really sick. I would tell myself to keep clinging to God. In all honesty, that was the one thing that got me through that year. I would also remind myself to find answers in God and the Bible and find rest in God. I think that the truths that I learned through the suffering apply now. God taught me in such a way that it has stuck with me, and I am thankful for that.
If I could go back 10 years I would tell myself to keep a focus on more long term goals and priorities, as well as being more intentional about establishing habits to help reach those goals.
I would tell my 8 year old self to make the most of the time God gives you, as you won’t get back any time you waste!
I’d tell myself 2 things:
- Friendships are a gift from God so, surrender them to Him because He will always provide what is best for you.
- Your true value and worth can only be found in God and what He says about you.
I’d probably tell myself to think more, and to be more focused on the things I found interesting.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
-The Saunders Family
His Power Made Perfect in Our Weakness
April Update 2021
If we could sum up this month in a bible verse, it would be 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” There have been countless times this month that we’ve stepped back and realized that without God we would be unable to do anything. So as you read this April update, remember as we have, that anything that may have been accomplished was by God’s grace alone.
In The Gap
The month of April has brought along many exciting and fun opportunities. We wanted to thank all of you who prayed for the filming of our bible lesson. We filmed the first portion of it and below you will find a slideshow of pictures of the process. The team working on the Inspire curriculum is now working with a tech person to get the internet portal up, and we are extremely excited about that upcoming launch. Bill is working on painting the new green screen room that will be upstairs along with the rest of our sets.
Last but certainly not least, we along with our team have the wonderful opportunity this week to once again be in person teaching kids. In The Gap is running children’s programs for two different homeschool and family conferences. As of when this newsletter will be published and sent out we will be teaching the character quality of truthfulness. Please keep everyone teaching in your prayers.
Our family has been busy preparing for Williams upcoming graduation. We’re so excited and proud of him! Because his graduation ceremony is in MN we hope to visit with some of you while we are up there. Our family is finishing up a few activities as the school year comes to a close. These communities that God has provided -namely BSF and Youth Group- have been a source of much spiritual encouragement and many wonderful friendships. We were able to attend the new members meeting for our church and are looking forward to continuing the process of becoming members at Faith Bible Church.
- Please pray for the details regarding Williams graduation to be sorted out smoothly.
- Please pray for the homeschool conference that we’re teaching at, that the kids would learn about truthfulness; and how God, the source of truth, is unchanging.
- Please pray that the Truth will set these kids free as they believe in Jesus.
- Praise the Lord for the church He has provided for us down here.
- Praise the Lord for his favor and blessing upon the In The Gap Kids channel.
- Praise the Lord for His guidance in filming our bible lesson
Fun facts with Hope
This month’s question is:
What is your favorite chapter or verse in the bible?
Dad: Wow, this question started my mind spinning. There are so many wonderful portions of the Bible… Read his full answer Here
Mom: One of my favorite passages is 2 Peter 3 (the whole chapter). Here are some verses from it: “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles… The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare… You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming… But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells… Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned… be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless… But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Why is it one of my favorites? It is the love of God reflected here, forewarning of the things to come and the encouragement to press on knowing that what awaits us the children of God is the most awesome thing: to dwell forever with Him in the amazing new heaven and new earth He has promised. Glory to God!
Daniel: Proverbs 3:5-6
I like this verse because it reminds me of the importance of using my understanding to apply and discern God’s will, rather than rely solely on my understanding apart from God’s Word.
William: There are so many great chapters in the Bible, but one of my favorites that has always encouraged me is 2 Timothy 2, where Paul is encouraging Timothy with wisdom and with the truth, and not only Timothy but also to everyone else who reads it. One of the wisest things Paul admonished Timothy with was in 2 Timothy 2:22, which says: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (NKJV)
Hope: Ever since I was little Psalm 18 has always been my favorite. Whether I needed comfort, or needed to be reminded of God’s power and sovereignty, this was the chapter I would read. My favorite passage from Psalm 18 is verses 16-18: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.”
Ruthie: My favorite verse is Hebrews 12:1-3. It encourages me to let go of sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice. And to persist to the finish line of life with an enduring and constant hope in my Savior.
We are so grateful for your continued prayers and support.
March Update 2021
Dear friends and family, Happy Easter! We know Jesus is risen and because He conquered death, we are saved and now have life eternal.
About a year ago in early March 2020, our family was in Oklahoma City for Daniel’s Leadership Academy closing ceremony. Earlier in the day, we had gotten the opportunity to hear one of his fellow Leaders in Training or LIT’s, passion speech. A passion speech is the point in which an LIT in Level 2 of Leadership Academy presents a speech on a passion of theirs. Josh’s speech happened to be on how In The Gap should create digital content on YouTube with the purpose of reaching kids all around the world. As In The Gap’s director Chad said recently, he thought it was a good idea but at that point, the team didn’t have the necessary time to launch a YouTube channel. Until… two weeks later, when the entire world was brought to a standstill due to COVID. Spring session ended up getting cancelled and, all of a sudden, the team here at In The Gap had the time to launch what we now know as, In The Gap Kids. It has been such a blessing for us to see how God has used what would seem like the worst circumstances, for our good and His glory. A big praise that we want to share with you is that some of the In The Gap Kids videos have sparked precious conversations between parents and their children.
We recently celebrated the 1 year anniversary of ITG Kids and just like Josh and later others envisioned, ITG Kids has grown and reached many!
Here are our latest stats:
- 48.4K Total Views
- 230 videos on YouTube
- 487 Subscribers
Linked below are a couple recent videos. One is on the resurrection of Christ, just in time for Easter! And the other is a video on God’s amazing creation of the world.
We mentioned last month that Bill along with our wonderful team, has been building sets for ITG Kids and we wanted to share with you pictures of the progress that we’ve made.
During the past year, not only did our team launch ITG Kids, they also launched many resources which we invite you to see here!
Soon to be released is the Inspire Curriculum. Our team has been working on this faithfully for the past year. The content is completed and the team is working on setting up the internet portal. Here is a quick summary of what the Inspire Curriculum is: The Inspire Curriculum is a biblically based character curriculum that looks into the character of Christ as scripture reveals it. Because He is steadfast and eternal, God’s character will never change, and this fact is an anchor to our souls. The foundation of this curriculum is God’s infallible Word, and you will find Scripture deeply interwoven into each lesson. However, what makes this curriculum unique is its character focus. Character is the overall soundness and consistency of a person’s moral behavior. This curriculum will give a broad overview of what a specific quality is, and then it will hone in on deeper aspects of that quality as the lessons progress. To see further click this link.
Additionally the team is gearing up for Leadership academy, which will begin again this fall. Sign ups are online and we invite you to read more about it here: https://www.inthegap.org/leadershipacademy/
As for our family, over the past month, we have had the opportunity to meet our new neighbors. Many we have met for the first time, and often through funny and unforeseen situations. I (Hope) was walking our dog Goldy one afternoon a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve ever tried to walk a dog who pulls nonstop you’ll be able to sympathize with the next portion of the story. As I was walking her through our backyard, I tripped rather spectacularly and Goldy, who had been dragging me along, took off like a shot! I decided not to chase after her, as she had escaped a few other times but had always returned. Long story short, our neighbor saw a dog running across their street with a leash trailing behind it and was kind enough to grab Goldy and take her in. We got to meet him along with a few others in our quest to find her.
Thankfully she is back with us and I have learned to look where I step. Patty also met a family at one of our local grocery stores. She has had the opportunity to connect them to a local church!
We have continued to learn a lot from our BSF study in Genesis, and are extremely grateful for the community that it brings.
Lastly our family recently heard a great message on church membership, and in the near future, we plan to officially join in membership with our church down here!
- Pray for the Inspire Curriculum as it is preparing to launch
- Please pray for our campus here, for protection and that ITG would continue to be a light to our surrounding community
- Pray for those whom God is calling to come to Leadership Academy this fall. Pray for provision and guidance for them, and that all the details would be sorted out.
- Pray for the staff as God is preparing our hearts to receive those He has called to come for Leadership Academy.
- Ongoing prayer requests and praises can be found on our prayer wall.
We are truly grateful for your continued prayers and support.
February Update 2021
As we look out frosted windows onto a snow covered yard, we are deeply grateful for God’s provision and protection over the last month.
As I’m sure many of you have seen on the news, snow and subzero weather have caught up with us here in OKC. It has gotten below zero for about a week now and because buildings here (and pipes more importantly) have not been designed to withstand that amount of cold, Bill has been VERY busy keeping the buildings warm and pipes from bursting. We also lost water pressure for a day, and the kids decided to melt snow so that we could wash dishes and flush toilets among other things😂! Thankfully running water is back and working just fine.
Aside from the weather keeping us on our toes. One of the neatest things we’ve been doing is helping with ITG Kids! We are so excited to tell you that the ITG Kids YouTube channel has had an increase in views by 127.5% From Dec 2020 to January 2021! We’ve also surpassed 35,000 total views. We have over 200 videos live that kids all over the world can access and learn from. We encourage you to watch and subscribe here and share these videos with a special kid (or adult) in your life! We are seeing God moving and kids being reached all over the world.
Another exciting development with ITG Kids is the fact that we are building new sets. Through teamwork and a little bit of elbow grease we have some lovely sets!
Another big goal that has been realized, is that Bill’s workshop is almost finished. Over the past 8 months he has been designing and building his workshop here at In The Gap and… He’s almost done!!! With this facility in place it gives us the opportunity to do more projects like the ITG Kids sets!
We as a family are also going to be filming a few bible lessons for ITG kids in the near future, and are currently preparing those at the moment.
Also, please keep Bill in your prayers as he is venturing into the world of HVAC. Our campus has more than 50 furnace and AC units, and due to the age of it, we have experienced issues with some of the units in the past 3 years. In The Gap decided that the best way to steward our resources was for someone on our team to learn how to fix and maintain these units, instead of paying hundreds of dollars every time we have an issue.
As for our family we have a few exciting things that we’d like to share…
Daniel has started a new job at Hobby Lobby, and we are so excited for him as he continues to finish college and is tutoring as well.
William is still working at Chick-Fil-A, and is preparing to graduate high school this year!
Hope is finishing up her sophomore year of high school and has been enjoying her local Youth Group and co-op.
Ruthmarie is almost done with 8th grade, and is keeping us all smiling with her sense of humor. As well as wowing us with her various art endeavors.
And lastly… WE NOW HAVE A DOG!
We first met Goldy when a staff member found her on ITG property. Knowing Hope loved dogs, our friend brought her to our house. And we have been taking care of her ever since. We have made every effort to find her possible previous owner but to no avail. So… we now have a dog! Hope named her Goldy as we believe she is some sort of golden retriever mix. However in hindsight, we realized her name also correlates with two of our favorite MN sports teams! (Golden Gophers and MN Vikings!)
- Please continue to pray for the people supporting our ministry and their families: that they would experience God’s provision and wisdom in every area of their lives.
- Please pray that Bill would be able to complete his HVAC course successfully.
- Please pray for God’s provision and protection health wise in our family.
- Please pray that God would lead and guide us as we prepare and film our bible lessons for ITG Kids.
- Please pray that we would fix our eyes on Jesus continually
- Ongoing prayer requests and praises can be found here
This February is a special shoutout to my grandparents!
I asked my parents this: What is the best piece of advice you’ve every received from your parents?
Bill: In 2008-9 we were considering selling our house. However before we went through with it, I asked my Mom and Dad if they had any concerns. My mom shared with me that for various reasons, she didn’t think selling was a good idea. I took that advice to heart and boy am I glad I did! I was in my forties at the time I had asked for their advice. But, the principle I learned was that God will still speak through your Mom and Dad, regardless of age!
Patty: My Mom always said that poverty is more of a mindset than a state of being. In her words: poverty is in the mind of people. Let me explain, when I was little we were extremely poor. Even so, my mom never let me or my siblings feel inferior or sorry for ourselves. She never compared our state of living with anyone else’s and through that taught us gratefulness and creativity. She taught me how to make what we had last, and be enough. She led by example and through that, instilled confidence and security for me as a child.
Happy New Year!
January Update 2021
As I (Bill) sat at a table at my first Men’s Ministry event at our new church I couldn’t help but be a little nervous. But as I’m sure many of you know, I’m not a super shy person so I proceeded to strike up a conversation with the other man at my table. Shortly thereafter a second person joined our table, when I looked up to see who it was I recognized this person, it was someone from our family’s Sunday morning bible study/small group. Encouraged I continued to chat with both men, until a third person joined our table, as I looked up for the second time, I recognized this person as well, it was a fellow BSF leader. I knew to some extent all three of the people I was sitting with, even though I was fairly new! As I sat there, I was able to see a bit more of how God had prepared and connected everything in advance for our family to walk in here in OKC.
The above story, as well as countless other moments big and small, are beautiful reminders of how God is orchestrating his perfect plan in our lives. A few of the things that have been the most encouraging to us in the last 6 months are as follows:
At In The Gap
As we have been able to have many conversations with our friends, many of whom are also our supporters, we have realized that despite everything going on with the coronavirus ITG has still been able to live out its vision of sharing the gospel and equipping the next generation. This has been accomplished through a few things, namely: ITG Kids- a website and YouTube channel where we are able to make all of the bible stories, puppet shows, character teaching, and missionary adventures (as well as much more) available to the kids we would normally teach in person. However, as a result of going online we are also able to reach kids around the world, which is wonderful! Secondly through creating and publishing resources authored by staff members -who would normally teach the Leaders in Training or LIT’s while they are at ITG- we are now able to provide a taste of what coming to ITG to be trained would be like. You can find these resources at https://www.inthegap.org/courses/. We as a family plan to go through them and will be posting our favorite snippets via our Instagram @saunders_updates.
- Please pray for the people supporting our ministry and their families: that they would experience God’s provision and wisdom in every area of their lives.
- Please continue to pray for the children and the families we are ministering to, that they remember and know the Lord Jesus Christ and find comfort and wisdom in Him in the midst of these changing times. And that our resources are a blessing and encourage them
- Pray that as our family goes through the courses (mentioned in our Latest updates), God may use them to equip us to minister more effectively
- Pray that God gives us the wisdom we need to organize our priorities in a way that honors Him.
- Wisdom and guidance as we continue our support raising
Lastly welcome to FUN FACTS. In this brand new segment (suggested by Hope) we will be answering a fun trivia question about ourselves so y’all can get to know us better!
This month’s question is: What is your favorite character (besides Jesus) in the bible and why?
Bill: Daniel is one of my favorites. As I read through the Bible I see really amazing pictures of God’s heart toward him, (Abraham too!) and it’s encouraging to see how God talks and interacts with them. The verses below are the ones that came to mind as I thought through this question.
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Patty: Ruth (but also Daniel as well), I see in both gentleness and humility, as well as the fact that they know that their strength is found in God. These are qualities that I admire greatly.
Daniel: Paul: because God was able to take someone who harshly persecuted the church and use him for His glory.
William: One of my favorite characters is David, because although he made many mistakes, he still truly loved God, and even when he messed up he still repented, and continued to seek God and obey him.
Hope: Peter: The picture of God using broken vessels to do incredible things resonates with me a lot. And Peter is one of the clearest examples of that in the Bible.
Ruthie: Deborah: I think it’s really cool that with God’s help she was able to lead the army of Israel to victory!
We are so grateful to God to have you alongside us in this journey!
Quick note on scheduling, from now on the updates will be posted on the 15th of the month and the Encouraging Thoughts will be posted on the 30th (or 28th).
Coming out of the Blur
Hello everyone from our new place in OKC! The last few months have been a blur! please forgive us this update did not come sooner to you, but through your encouragement, prayers and God’s help… here it is!!
Last days in Minnesota
The last three months have seemed like life went into overdrive! Trying to close our business in Minnesota increased the work load quite a bit for Bill, working full time on projects all the way to the Saturday before we moved to Oklahoma City. There was no way to get things done on time on our own; but the Lord provided!
Many friends surprised us by coming to help in so many ways; from cutting tree branches and mowing, to getting rid of stuff we no longer needed; driving loads of garbage to their own dumpsters; doing all kinds of cleaning -scrubbing floors, appliances, etc; providing meals for us and those who were helping; packing, and much more!
A dear friend who was also in the process of moving about the same time, collected almost all the boxes needed for our move, boxes of all sizes. The Lord placed in her heart to do this for us, and she joyfully did it and not just that, she (and her son) also came to help us pack a few times, bless their hearts!
Another dear friend, volunteered to drive one of our cars and trailer loaded with stuff. This was such a relief for Patty because she was the designated driver together with our son Daniel, since Bill was driving the big truck.
We are so thankful for such kindness and willing hearts!
We want to also share an update on our house in MN. Our renters were able to move in on July 1st, the same day we left MN. Things worked out so well and smoothly.
In the midst of the busyness with packing, meetings, work, etc; God provided all we needed. We knew we were covered in prayer; we could feel the prayers of each one of you. The Lord answered far beyond our expectations!
God was so kind and gracious to provide us with the opportunity to say goodbye to friends and family. Our church -The Urban Refuge, prayed for us and sent us with words of encouragement. Also, our wonderful small group prepared a fabulous gathering by the lake with food, prayer and kind encouraging words. Thank you friends! We love you!
We made it safely, praise the Lord! We were warmly welcomed home by our team. We found a bountiful basket of foods in our kitchen -SO helpful as we were moving into our new home and getting unpacked. We are thankful for the work they had done in the house and in the yard -pruning trees, planting flowers and cleaning up, etc. We are still working on a few more repairs and other issues with potential flooding.
The enemy tries to discourage us as we are learning to live in a new place, things like, poison ivy -Bill got a bad case on his arm, thank God he is completely fine now. We are learning about new bugs, which ones are ok and which ones are not ok, we have a good live material for our science class (entomology) for our Homeschooling -taking pictures, and do some research, etc. Not bad! The Lord has blessed us with new perspectives… right perspectives (please see our Encouraging thoughts).
We met some wonderful families at our Bible Bee this year. Our Proclaim! Day was a blessing! God provided such a beautiful weather and we were able to have some outdoor fellowship. We were also so blessed to have some of the In The Gap team helping us out with our Proclaim! Day event. Thank you team!
We want to also give an update of how our children are doing. Many of you have been praying for them and we are so thankful. They have undoubtedly missed their friends, family, church and life in MN; some tears, and much prayers have been comforting.
God is so good! About two years ago the Lord first laid this adventure in our hearts. He has been faithful in caring for the hearts of our children in so many ways. First, God gave us the opportunity to spend a whole week at ITG last year. We saw the interns at work, preparing lessons and going to the schools to teach character classes and Bible clubs after school hours. Through Operation Impact and Leadership Academy our three older children got to meet new friends (some who live in the area) and also got to know the staff members. At the end of last year we had the opportunity to spent a few days at the ITG-staff retreat. Thank God for providing those opportunities for our children! even though the changes; they know many people here (even more than their parents do!). We live about three houses down from where the ITG-campus is, which allows for constant fellowship.
They are also able to stay in touch with friends via online and treasure so much the ZOOM meetings with Grandpa & Grandma and their aunt & uncle. We are so thankful God has provided the internet venue for them to stay connected with friends and family.
It has been a blessing to have our children alongside in the ministry and we are beyond grateful with the Lord that our children are enjoying so much to be able to engage in our work here. Thank you SO much for caring and praying for them.
We’ve had some of you asking how we are doing financially. As with everything else, do to covid, we had to adapt to the new changes and held support meetings via ZOOM; we did a couple in person as well. This allowed us to reach about 80% financial support just before we moved to OKC and we are trusting God to bring the rest; so we are still having meetings via ZOOM and over the phone from OKC.
We love our team! They are amazing! We pray a lot for people and for ministry matters; we fellowship and work together in the direction God is showing us at this point and we are looking forward with what is ahead.
We are so encouraged to see God expanding our outreach here in OKC and beyond. Right now with not being able to do ministry in the schools due to covid and schools been closed; God is opening doors for online outreach and discipleship. We are stepping into that door with confidence that the Lord is reaching out far beyond our expectations. And all of your support and prayers for us and the rest of the team is crucial! You are doing ministry alongside with us… Thank you for joining us!
All the things we shared plus many others we had to leave out or this update would have been even longer; are a testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness; He is at work and He guides His people. You are in our constant prayers.
Blessings on you all! We love you!
Bill and Patty
“…On him we have set our hope that
He will continue to deliver us, as you
help us by your prayers. Then many will
give thanks on our behalf for the
gracious favor granted us in
answer to the prayers of many.”
~2 Corinthians 1:10b-11~
HAPPENINGS and NEXT STEPS
Where are we? We are still in Minnesota. We are trying to pack up as much as we can this week; because (God willing), on May 28th we plan to bring another load of boxes down to OKC.
During our stay in OKC, we will be setting things up in our new place. We were so blessed with a wonderful surprise from our amazing In The Gap team; out of their own initiative they worked so hard around the yard from trimming trees, to planting flowers, to cleaning up, etc., preparing the place for us. We are so thankful for such kindness!
Another thing we hope to do that weekend, is to meet with our National Bible Bee families, we are hosting a group this year in OKC and the study will be taking off on June 1st. We are excited to meet our new families this year!
We believe that it will take two more trips to finish moving. The last one will probably be on the last week of June; here is when we will hand the house key to our renters and go. By the way, we want to share with you how God brought our renters to us…
Patty had a conversation with a woman from one of her Bible study groups; Patty mentioned that we will be moving to OKC and that we were praying for renters for our house; this woman said “we have been praying for 3 years for a house to rent, but every time the Lord has closed the doors.” Then she asked more details about the house and said she would talk to her husband about it. Later that day she called asking if they could see the house. They came two days later, and papers were signed up that same week. God took care of many details, big and small and brought people to answer our questions and to help us with paperwork and wise counsel. We are so thankful with our faithful God! and We are so thankful for your faithful prayers!
You could probably agree that this present situation has brought new challenges and opportunities all over the world. That is happening as well at In The Gap. Operation Impact had to be cancelled for this year due to COVID -19. However, God has opened a new opportunity. The team has launched In the Gap Kids. These online resources can reach so many families all around the world. Please check them out and share freely the link with others: https://www.inthegapkids.org/
Our responsibilities here in Minnesota have been fulfilled -Youth Group ended last Wednesday and BSF is also done for the year. Bill was able to attend the OKC- BSF Leaders group via ZOOM and has enjoyed greatly meeting with them. Patty enjoyed meeting women from many countries in her BSF Spanish group. Some of the women that joined toward the end wanted to continue meeting to review the Acts study. Patty and the women are having a good time doing so.
Bill is shutting down our business 411Build-It and has also notified this to the companies he has done service work for. He will finish up what is left of his work with them by mid-June.
God has been faithful in bringing people to join our support team. And from His goodness we are at 45% of financial support and many are supporting us through prayer. We know the Lord will continue to bring what is needed in due time. We are so thankful for your support and your prayers!
You are in our prayers. Please send us your prayer requests at email@example.com
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
Where are we? We are all in Minnesota right now watching the snow pile up on Easter Sunday.
What are we doing?
Bill, has been working with his business, trying to learn how to do support raising online, zoom and websites like this one, BSF online and getting things ready to move.
Patty, has been excited with doing BSF online and her group has grown quite a bit having Spanish speaking people from Latin America and South America joining her group, she’s working on packing up, giving away and de-cluttering.
Daniel, was able to be at the ITG Leadership Academy winter session, but his plans of joining for the spring session changed since it got cancelled due the COVID-19 situation; now he is preparing to finish his final year of college, doing online tutoring and creating this website.
William, has been working with school and keeping up with his fitness goals and even doing Karate on zoom. He is excited for the Bible Bee to start this year and is hoping that ITG Operation Impact will happen in June to join the team.
Hope, has been so helpful in designing our newsletter. Her creativity and resourcefulness have been such a blessing to us. She is enjoying her Karate on zoom and keeping in touch with her friends on video calls, but misses spending time in person with them.
Ruthmarie, enjoys the quiet pace we’re living right now, and it is encouraging to see. She likes to go for runs or walks with her siblings and has fun sketching and painting and practising her violin.
William, Hope and Ruthie are enjoying their BSF study via online. Daniel is on his second year in the BSF men’s class.
Our family is still planing to move to Oklahoma at the end of May, but in these times we need to hold our plans loosely, The verse that says that “man makes his plans but the Lord determines his steps” has been so relevant to us in this time we are living in.
We are still working on building our team of ministry partners that will be holding us up in prayer and supporting us financially. We are so thankful to God for all the opportunities He has given us to share about this new adventure. We will continue to share with others through zoom -a great tool to stay better connected with everyone now and after we move.